Former Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss is going full speed ahead towards reaching her goal of becoming a doctor after bringing home the beauty pageant title of Miss World in 2014.
The 25-year-old medical student began her studies in 2011 and after taking a break is now in her final year of medicine at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein.
“My father is a medical doctor and ever since I can remember, I’ve always been in love with medicine and being able to work with people when they are at their most fragile,” Strauss told Health24.
“I am passionate about preventing the fragile state of patients and practicing preventative medicine, rather than trying to cure illness or treat the symptoms,” Strauss added.
She believes this is where the opportunity to truly make a difference lies.
It’s a risk worth taking
But it has not always been smooth sailing for the former Miss South Africa. Strauss had to eventually put her studies on hold to participate in the pageant.
“I knew that if I had to win Miss South Africa and Miss World, my studies would be put on hold. But when it came to the opportunities associated with the pageant, the benefits would outweigh the risks,” said Strauss.
Strauss eventually interrupted her studies in her fourth year of medicine in March 2014.
"It was a sacrifice I was willing to make."
And returning to complete her fourth year in January 2016 came with its own set of challenges.
“I had to make more sacrifices after both pageants when I returned to studying.
“There were so many wonderful things I could do and be a part of, but I knew that I had to complete my medical studies to truly live my purpose at the end. I made these conscious choices and lived by my decisions.
“The biggest decision,” Strauss added, “was probably deciding to have a long distance marriage while completing my studies at UFS.
“It was an exciting but nerve-wrecking experience. I was excited to do what I love, but also nervous about my new classmates and how people would treat me after being away for two years. It took about two weeks for everything to seem like it never changed and return back to normal.”
Living life to the fullest
Busy people often feel like there are too few hours in the day to get everything done. Strauss definitely feels this way at times.
“I honestly thought that having a child would affect my studying, but I am blessed with a baby boy that started sleeping through at three months and a nanny who is amazing and adores him to bits,” Strauss said.
“I’ve also learned to do whatever it is I need to do, to the fullest.”
During the time dedicated to studying, Strauss says she works “like there is no tomorrow”.
But when it's family time, it's quality time!
Photographer: Kevin Mark Pass
Rolene Strauss was conceived as a result of in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Interestingly, she was the first successful IVF (test tube baby) to be conceived in Bloemfontein at the time.
Her parents met, fell in love, and got married. But, unfortunately, they struggled to fall pregnant for five years.
“My parents then decided to go to the University of the Free State for in vitro fertilisation,” said Strauss.
“I always thought that it is quite special and would give so many parents who are struggling to fall pregnant some hope, but my parents never spoke about it, like it was something to be ashamed of.”
Giving back to society
Rolene and her husband D’Niel Strauss decided that they – as a family – wanted to give back to society, and together with both their families The Strauss Foundation was established.
The Strauss Foundation is a non-profit entity with the aim to be a positive contributor to society through the promotion of Health, Education and Charity.
The aim of the foundation is to unlock the inherent abilities of as many individuals as possible.
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